Underworld

Underworld

Profile:
UK electronic music act formed by Rick Smith and Karl Hyde in 1987 after their former band Freur disbanded. The first line-up released more song oriented funky guitar based pop over the course of two albums. In 1991 the core duo returned with a new track oriented technoid direction and a new ally; DJ Darren Emerson. In 1996 the former b-side "Born Slippy NUXX" was used in Danny Boyle's film "Trainspotting" and became an instant anthem of the mid to late 1990's. Emerson left in 2000 after the release of "Everything, Everything" to pursue a solo career.
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Underworld Discography

Albums

Underworld Underneath The Radar (Album) Warner Bros. Records Germany 1988 Sell This Version
Underworld Change The Weather (Album) Sire US 1989 Sell This Version
Underworld Dubnobasswithmyheadman (Album, Comp) Junior Boy's Own, Junior Boy's Own UK 1993 Sell This Version
Underworld Second Toughest In The Infants (Album, Comp, Single) Junior Boy's Own South Africa 1996 Sell This Version
Underworld Beaucoup Fish (Album) Junior Boy's Own, V2 Saudi Arabia 1998 Sell This Version
Underworld Live* Everything, Everything (Album) Junior Boy's Own UK 2000 Sell This Version
Underworld A Hundred Days Off (Album, Comp) Junior Boy's Own Israel 2002 Sell This Version
UWR-0500007-3 Underworld Live In Tokyo 25th November 2005(3xCD) Underworldlive.com UWR-0500007-3 UK 2005 Sell This Version
Underworld And Gabriel Yared Underworld And Gabriel Yared - Breaking And Entering (Music From The Film) (Album) V2 Europe 2006 Sell This Version
Underworld Riverrun Remix Sampler Underworldlive.com UK 2006 Sell This Version
Underworld Oblivion With Bells (Album) Underworldlive.com, Different, Play It Again Sam [PIAS] Russia 2007 Sell This Version
UWRLIVECD-013, TRCI 3-4, none Underworld Live At The Oblivion Ball, Makuhari Messe, Tokyo, Japan 24.11.2007(2xCD, Album, Ltd) Underworldlive.com, Traffic Inc., Live Here Now UWRLIVECD-013, TRCI 3-4, none Japan 2007 Sell This Version
UWRLIVECD-003 Underworld Glasgow Academy. Scotland 13.10.2007(2xCDr, Album, Ltd, Dou) Underworldlive.com UWRLIVECD-003 UK 2007 Sell This Version
UWRLIVECD-006 Underworld London Roundhouse. England 18.10.2007(2xCDr, Album, Ltd, Dou) Underworldlive.com UWRLIVECD-006 UK 2007 Sell This Version
UWRLIVECD-002, none Underworld Birmingham Academy. England 9.10.2007(2xCDr, Album, Ltd) Underworldlive.com, Live Here Now UWRLIVECD-002, none UK 2007 Sell This Version
UWRLIVECD-004 Underworld Manchester Apollo. England 16.10.2007(2xCDr, Album, Ltd, Dou) Underworldlive.com UWRLIVECD-004 UK 2007 Sell This Version
UWRLIVECD-005 Underworld London Roundhouse. England 17.10.2007(2xCDr, Album, Ltd, Dou) Underworldlive.com UWRLIVECD-005 UK 2007 Sell This Version
Underworld Brixton Academy, London, England. 01.11.2008 (Album) Underworldlive.com, Live Here Now UK 2008 Sell This Version
Underworld Brixton Academy, London, England. 31.10.2008 (Album) Underworldlive.com, Live Here Now UK 2008 Sell This Version
UWRLIVECD-012 Underworld Amsterdam Heineken Music Hall. Holland 30.01.2008(2xCDr, Album, Ltd, Dou) Underworldlive.com UWRLIVECD-012 Netherlands 2008 Sell This Version
UWRLIVECD-013 Underworld Ancienne Belgique, Brussels. Belgium 31.01.2008(2xCDr, Album, Ltd, Dou) Underworldlive.com UWRLIVECD-013 Belgium 2008 Sell This Version
UWRLIVECD-014 Underworld London Roundhouse. England 28.02.2008(2xCDr, Album, Ltd, Dou) Underworldlive.com UWRLIVECD-014 UK 2008 Sell This Version
UWRLIVECD-010, none Underworld Rotterdam Maassilo. Holland 29.01.2008(2xCDr, Album, Ltd) Underworldlive.com, Live Here Now UWRLIVECD-010, none Netherlands 2008 Sell This Version
UWRLIVECD-011 Underworld Köln Palladium. Germany 28.01.2008(2xCDr, Album, Ltd, Dou) Underworldlive.com UWRLIVECD-011 Germany 2008 Sell This Version
UWRLIVECD-007 Underworld London Roundhouse. England 29.02.2008(2xCDr, Album, Ltd, Dou) Underworldlive.com UWRLIVECD-007 UK 2008 Sell This Version

Reviews Show All 28 Reviews

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Electrohound

Electrohound

June 6, 2016
edited 5 months ago
Underworld are clearly masters of their craft. Even so, it's important to correct some misperceptions about them, since it seems some techno fans, even paid critics, don't appreciate the full range of their output. Some of this is to be expected. Some just think of them as that rock-dance act that did that "Born Slippy" thing. Hmmm.

First off, for cats who love to write them off simply because they do have a vocal, lyrical and guitar dimension to their music, perhaps one should consider that limiting the definition of techno music or electronic music not only is backwards (both Kraftwerk and Juan Atkins used vocals and the electric guitar was essentially one of the first synthesizers), but it also narrows music's creative possibilities.

But if that is not enough for you to reconsider or expand your mind, then at minimum, you should know your history. And if you listened to the ORIGINAL instrumental breakbeat version of "Born Slippy," the ambient tidal groove of "Thing In A Book," the ode to joy of "Rez," the bubbling "Peach Tree," the crashing "Kittens," the scratch static of "Rowla," or the cosmic lightning of "Cherry Pie" -- all pure electronic instrumentals -- and you still think they're whack, then my assessment is you're simply hating to hate.

If you're open beyond this more instrumental side of Underworld, then the rewards just grow. You have the echoey groove of "Dirty Guitar," the demon genie of "Spoonman," the electro hoedown of "Cowgirl," the Art of Noise house of "Eclipse," the ecstatic "Spikee," the warping "Juanita," the time elastic "Pearls Girl," the electro blues of "Mosaic," the dark trance of "Burts" and "Dark Train," the weirdly hypnotic "Luetin," the moody ride of "Bird 1," the skittering boogie of "Best Mamgu Ever," the Blade Runner sunset of "Beautiful Burnout," the human soul blooming in a robot brain of "Faxed Invitation," the Route 66 kicks of "I, Exhale," the Arthur Russell echo of "Ova Nova," the post-New Order flight of "Nylon Strung" -- the list goes on and on. Really it's ridiculous.

And then there are the remixes for others, many of them revolutionary at the time and still deathless, of 108 Grand's "Te Quiero," the dub symphony of Leftfield's "Song of Life" as Lemon Interupt (used on FSOL's mind-bending radio Test Transmission 2), the looping funk of Mental Generation's "Cafe Del Mar," the aquatic head trip of William Orbit's "Water from a Vine Leaf," the galloping remix of Drum Club's "Sound System." And on and on.

Hawtin, Moby, the Chems, Prodigy, Orbital, even the more purist greats, Black Dog, Jeff Mills, Underground Resistance -- all stellar -- but in my book, Underworld are truly one of a kind. But that's for another time.
irq506

irq506

April 3, 2016
Very influential band! Highly influential to other forward thinking musicians, with many collaborations from early on. Underworld, to me are a very refreshing sound, even now in 2016.
anton.hystrix

anton.hystrix

November 23, 2015
edited about 1 year ago
Underworld indeed is one of the best british electronic music acts. And before that they were quite good rock band. I love and respect them. But I agree that many people overrate them, especially today. Dubnobass... and Second Toughest In The Infants were perfect, I added them to my list of the best conceptual albums ever created. The next album Beacoup Fish ruined all this, I consider it as their worst work, maybe Darren was thinking the same and eventually left the band. After that Karl and Rick made some good music (Bird 1 and Scribble from the last album are very strong IMO) but overall work was much more 'plain' than before.

One important thing about Underworld is that people try to find some meaning in their lyrics. This is a mistake because Karl Hyde uses his voice only as a musical instrument. His words really make no sense because they are developed to fit into the sound, to be in harmony with the synthesisers. They have no meaning at all and I totally love this unusual approach because it sounds great ;)
Music-Maestro

Music-Maestro

December 8, 2014
edited about 1 year ago
Underworld: European Club Gig (2xCD, Unofficial, No Label, UND 001/02, 1996).
Tracklist available, as is the 2cd set itself.
bullfinchart

bullfinchart

February 13, 2014
It's important to remember, with Underworld, that from Dubnobasswithmyheadman onward they weren't just a 'dance' group, as is often said. Their albums contain as much downtempo and ambient material as danceable techno. This material features many of the gems from their career: Tongue, Most 'Ospitable, Sappy's Curry, Puppies, Skym, Sola Sistim, Good Morning Cockerel, Best Mamgu Ever, Louisiana, to name just a few. These pieces complement the atmospheric techno tracks perfectly (Luetin, Juanita, Dirty Epic...), and their mastery of serious thoughtful music is matched by their skill at creating commercial, yet entirely odd, singles (the obvious ones - Born Slippy, Push Upstairs, Two Months Off).

What is most obvious when trawling their back catalogue is their genuine artistry - unlike a lot of artists who make music in and around the 'dance' category, Underworld have retained entirely idiosyncratic from the word go, from their unique messy artwork (all created by Tomato, the art collective the band are part of), to Karl Hyde's off the wall lyrics and the regular use of imaginary words and strange phrases in their song titles (Telematic Peal, Holding the Moth, Banstyle, Kiteless, Mmm... Skyscraper I Love You, Spoonman - I could go on!). Their soundtrack work highlights yet another side the band, which they excel at (the Breaking & Entering score with Gabriel Jared comes very highly recommended). They are a group with an identity who only ever do things their way, to express their own (often bizarre) take on the world. One of those groups whose discography keeps throwing out absolute gems, however deep you dig.
Spinecrawler

Spinecrawler

February 5, 2012
edited over 4 years ago
Their 80s album, pure quality dance pop/funk,group takes a wrong turn in the 90s and became another annoying trance/rave boy band as pop/dance was being toned out...90s albums are nothing more than pure drug inducted noise,90s material best left for lining your birdcage

March 12, 2008
Incredibly overrated indeed. Besides their Dark & Long EP and Rez/Cowgirl, their other hits are very mainstream and don't have much quality to them. It is generally agreed that Beacoup Fish marked the downfall of the group, Emerson's leaving sealed the affair, and since then they have never been the same. Their first two major albums are overrated as well, with only a few outstanding tracks, and as one listener put it: "techno for the masses".

Underworld has made a very mainstream impact with dance music, and I praise them for bringing dance music to the public. But I can't really give them an award for quality when their hype far exceeds their talent.
BS.Dos.

BS.Dos.

November 5, 2006
edited over 10 years ago
Underworld are, quite simply, national treasure's. Their contribution to the UK music scene, which, lest we forget, provided some of the more memorable and significant sountracks for that much publicized self-indulgent and gourmandizing generation, should surely rank alongside such pioneering and erstwhile luminaries as the Clash, The Pistols and The Stones.

November 23, 2005
edited over 11 years ago
An excellent group who have produced what I would say is known as "Dark House". Examples of this unique genre would be "Dark & Long (Dark Train)", "Kittens" and "Two Months Off".

Underworld are a very interesting group as they have done songs in a variety of other styles too. The song "Cups" has a jazzy kind of feel to it and "River Of Bass" is a very relaxing and ambient piece.

They have not failed to deliver top-quality tracks. Their appearances on the PlayStation's Wipeout soundtracks are also a real treat too. Even the tracks that don't appear on Wipeout soundtracks go well with the main theme of the game.
mentasm

mentasm

August 12, 2004
edited over 12 years ago
One of the best acts of the century? Indeed they are! Fantastic records, real trance-inducing and irresistible. I could listen to their records or remixes for days and days without getting bored.
And live, they're even greater, without a doubt. Seeing them on a stage is a mind-opening experience, I defy anyone not to be moved after attending an UW concert. And I reckon their performance is one of the best in the dance world, but this also applies to all kind of musics. How many rock acts can compete with UW on stage? Well, not many in fact. Mr Hyde stage presence goes beyond many of so-called rock legends, which is so funny, having heard during years that techno groups were lacking life on stage compared to "guitar" groups... Please boys, more of that stuff and many more concerts! THANX.

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